Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness 1

Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Part of my research on consciousness for an upcoming project. This was more of a philosophical read on the definition of consciousness, and its benefits and problems, than about the process that may have brought it about.

Lots of interesting ideas, and the book is sprouting many coloured bookmark tabs where I found ideas worth exploring further, or springboards for ideas to put in the story.

From:: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews


Hack/Slash is not the same idea as the story I’m currently considering, but it comes from a similar place. I knew somebody had to have done something like this.

Hack/Slash is an ongoing comic books series, launched from several one shots of the same name, published by Devil’s Due Publishing that has also been adapted into a stage play and a feature film.

The series, starting as a series of one-shots, was created by writer and sometime penciller Tim Seeley.

The focus of the series is on a horror victim, Cassie, who strikes back at the monsters, known as “slashers”, with Vlad, a disfigured “gentle giant” who frequently wears a gas mask.

Buy Hack/Slash collections at Amazon


As research for a story idea (which, if written, I’ll probably be releasing under a pseudonym, though it may be as transparent as Gareth Pattinson) I’ve seen the legend of the Cropsey (or Kropsy) Maniac cited as inspiration for more than one story. Amongst these films, and one which I watched last night, is The Burning a by-the-numbers but entertaining summer camp slasher which actually calls its killer Cropsy.

The film Cropsey is a documentary about the legend and how it collided with reality in a bunch of child disappearances on Staten Island. The film’s website has more information. I can’t find any other mentions of the legend online except in relation to the film- here’s the Wikipedia article about it– which seems a little odd.

Final Girl

The final girl is a horror film (particularly slasher film) trope that specifically refers to the last woman or girl alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. The final girl has been observed in dozens of films, including Halloween[1], Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hellraiser, Alien, and Scream. The term was coined [2] by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film.[3] Clover suggests that in these films, the viewer begins by sharing the perspective of the killer, but experiences a shift in identification to the final girl partway through the film.


For research purposes, the Wikipedia entry on HUMan INTelligence in espionage.

HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT. NATO defines HUMINT as “a category of intelligence derived from information collected and provided by human sources.”[1] Typical HUMINT activities consist of interrogations and conversations with persons having access to pertinent information.

Build yourself an island

Rishi Sowa has built himself a floating island using plastic bottles, netting and plywood, with mangrove helping to hold it all together. Find out more at

via BoingBoing

This interests me because I’ve recently gone back to Heavensent, the propellerpunk tale I wrote a few years ago, with a view to revising and expanding it. Early in the tale some of the characters are trapped on a floating island which has evolved in a section of a vast ocean where the eddies of the current have trapped lots of flotsam. The idea was that algae had trapped seeds which had sent out roots, further binding things together, until a floating landmass had been formed. As the tale is set at a time of lower technological advancement than today it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine some of the starting material being wood and other biodegradable materials. This shall feed back into the Heavensent rewrite.

The Pink Panthers

The fractions of seconds flicker past on the CCTV footage from the Exelco store in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza shopping district. As the clock races forward, an elegantly suited, tie-less western man enters through the front door and turns left towards a display cabinet. A second man walks in under an umbrella, his mouth and nose covered by a white anti-contamination mask. He reaches into a small rucksack and takes out a gun.

The seconds run by on the clock. The first man calmly opens a cabinet and picks out two items – a diamond-studded tiara and a jewelled necklace. The second man squirts a short burst of tear gas at the employees. Then they turn around and walk out. The clock shows 36.02 seconds.

This is the time it took the Pink Panther gang, the world’s premier “white glove” crooks, to commit one of the cleanest jewellery heists in Japanese history – netting almost £2m-worth of gold and precious stones. By the time the employees could react, the two men had disappeared. They were already weaving through Ginza’s heavy traffic on their getaway vehicles – later identified by police as bicycles.

The Guardian- The hunt for the Pink Panther gang.

There’s a story in this, for certain.

The White House Flickr feed

The official White House flickr feed. Photo reference for the Space Comic. I’ll stick Obama, or someone who looks a lot like him, in the comic but not Brown. For one thing Obama is going to have more international recognition than the British Prime Minister. For another, it’s unlikely the scotsman will still be in office by the time I finish. If there’s an election whilst I’m drawing the comic there might be a “call me Dave” cameo.

Helmandblog photostream

DMOCCCT-2009-004-I-102, originally uploaded by Helmandblog.

I’m looking for photo reference for my next comic, part of which will take part in Afghanistan. Luckily the Army has its own Helmand blog, and that has its own photostream on Flickr. I think this should be good for making the kit and vehicles accurate.

Your own personal currency 2

I’m in research mode for Sounds of Soldiers, but this article on DIY currencies came along of its own accord. Most of the currencies discussed in the article are virtual and tradeable by mobile phone. In the first draft of Sounds of Soldiers the Levenshulme based currency- the Levy- has been imagined as a tangible item, paper chits or coins. Perhaps it might work better as an electronic unit. I shall have to consider how it will best fit into my story’s world.

St. Peter’s Beard

Because I -promised to look it up, here’s a brief history of merkins from Wikipedia

A merkin (first use, according to the OED, 1617) is a pubic wig, originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia to eliminate lice or disguise the marks of syphilis. Also many women used them so they didn’t have to hide the fact that they had shaved their genitalia. There are many different ways of wearing a merkin, although most involve placing the merkin on the vulva or the scrotum.

The term is also applied to decorative (typically sequinned) patches commonly sold in sets with nipple tassels or “pasties” and are enjoying new popularity as part of the costume of new burlesque adult entertainment.

In American cinema, merkins are currently used in films where they are worn by actors and actresses to prevent inadvertent exposure of the genitalia during nude or semi-nude scenes. If no merkin were worn, it would be necessary to restrict the shot to exclude the genital area; with the merkin in place brief flashes of the crotch can be used if necessary. The presence of the merkin protects the actor from inadvertently performing ‘full-frontal’ nudity (their contract may specifically require that nipples and genitals be covered in some way), and can help ensure that the film achieves a more “acceptable” MPAA rating.

Houghton Mifflin’s American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition describes the term’s etymology as stemming from an “alteration of obsolete malkin, lower-class woman, mop, from Middle English; from Malkin, diminutive of the personal name Matilda.”

It has also been suggested that, in the period when male actors played female parts, they would cover their genitals with a merkin so they could expose themselves as women in bawdy scenes.

A “short and curly history of the merkin” in The Guardian provided a partial history of the merkin. It highlighted “comedy terrorist” Aaron Barschak’s flashing of a merkin to onlookers.

The Oxford Companion to the Body dates the origin of the pubic wig back to 1450, claiming that women would shave their pubic hair and wear a merkin to combat pubic lice, and that prostitutes would wear them to cover up signs of disease. This book also mentions the tale of one man that gave a cardinal of the Catholic Church a merkin that he had acquired from a prostitute and then combed and dried. He claimed it was St. Peter’s beard.